Casual Talk

Progressive archiving

The “danger” that is inherent in the archive’s position as “a presence.” Archives as cultural products are representations of classi cations, fragmentations and knowledge production that are never free from imperial, colonial and patriarchal knowledge and the language of hegemonic capitalism. on the other hand, archival work and archiving in a broader sense also possesses the expectation and opportunity to always be a “theory, which departs from the aligned everyday.”

Arsipelago, edited by Farah Wardhani and Yoshi Fajar Kreshno Murti

Critiques of hegemonic library classification structures and controlled vocabularies have a rich history in information studies. This project has pointed out the trouble with classification and cataloging decisions that are framed as objective and neutral but are always ideological and worked to correct bias in library structures. Viewing knowledge organization systems from a queer perspective, however, challenges the idea that classification and subject language can ever be finally corrected. Engaging queer theory and library classification and cataloging together requires new ways of thinking about how to be ethically and politically engaged on behalf of marginal knowledge formations and identities who quite reasonably expect to be able to locate themselves in the library. Queer theory invites a shift in responsibility from catalogers, positioned to offer functional solutions, to public services librarians, who can teach patrons to dialogically engage the catalog as a complex and biased text, just as critical catalogers do.

— Emily Drabinski, Queering the Catalog: Queer Theory and the Politics of Correction, 2013

Belakangan kita sering mendengar betapa “arsip” menjadi kata yang penting posisinya. Pun kata arsip tetap memiliki kesan “angker” terutama kaitannya dengan akurasi pencatatan sejarah, yang berdampak ke pembentukan identitas dan ideologi sepanjang timeline bangsa. Selain “angker” bekerja dengan arsip juga berkesan “surem”. Imajinasi berkutat dengan naskah dan arsip usang, memaknai narasi masa lalu, menelusuri sumber yang sesat dilacak nasibnya, dan memastikan keabsahan informasi terlihat membosankan jauh dari sorot lampu panggung budaya yang gemerlap dan dinamis.

Praktik seputar ngarsip jaman now tentu tak harus melulu kerja dalam ruang yang terisolasi. Di era divergensi media, kerja pengarsipan menemukan praktiknya di luar ruangan dalam berbagai medium dan metode.  Melalui respon dan interpretasi seniman, pegiat budaya dan sejarah, proses pengolahan dan pemaknaan arsip menjadi “karya” dan “peristiwa” bisa kita maknai sebagai format lain arsip yang lebih cair dan berinteraksi langsung di tengah keseharian masyarakatnya.

Kami mengundang panelis-panelis yang kegiatannya secara sengaja maupun tidak beririsan dengan daur pengarsipan: Ezrena Marwan dari Malaysia Design Archive, Novan Effendy dari Damar Kurung Gresik, Benjamin Forster, pustakawan dari Frontyard, FX Harsono, dan Yoshi Fajar Kreshno Murti. Dengan moderator Ayos Purwoaji.

Illustration: public domain photo taken by Frederick William Bond, photographer at the Zoological Society of London, this unusual image shows the contents of an ostrich’s stomach extracted after its death.